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Texas woman celebrates 105th birthday with 'spa day'

Her secret to long life is daily breakfast of 'crispy bacon, toast and jam'

Wilda Wilson received a surprise to celebrate her 105th birthday. Staff at Buckner Parkway Place, the Houston-area senior living community Wilda has resided at since 2004, treated the birthday girl to a morning of pandemic-friendly pampering in the campus beauty salon. 

The “spa day” honored Wilson’s 30-year career as a hairdresser and salon owner

“Ms. Wilda is an inspiration to all of us, and I’m glad we could bring a smile to her face today,” said Abraham Mathew, executive director of Parkway Place. 

The birthday pampering for Wilda included a shampoo, scalp massage, styling and a manicure, followed by a socially distanced celebration. 

Parkway Place’s COVID-19 protocols were followed throughout the appointment, including screening and testing the stylist, use of PPE, and limiting the salon to one client at a time.

A life filled with humbleness, kindness and no-nonsense

When asked about the secret to a long life, Wilda credited her daily breakfast of five extra crispy pieces of bacon and two pieces of toast smothered in jam. 

Wilda was born Feb. 9, 1916 on a farm in Kansas. At the time of her birth, the U.S. population was 102 million, a new Model T Ford cost $306 and gasoline was only 22 cents per gallon, the first supermarket opened, and the hamburger bun was invented.

“My grandma is a doer … she always has been,” said Isla Waters. “She just gets things done well. Grandma, also known as Brownie to her dear friends, is humble, kind, no-nonsense, and genuinely happy for others. I adore her and cherish every moment I’ve had with her.”

Isla said she has a few vague memories of her grandmother’s hair salon in Colorado. 

“I think that’s where I received my first haircut,” she said. “When I was a child, I always loved to have my grandmother do my hair, as she knew how to brush it without hurting me.”

Wilda and her husband, Clayton, moved from Colorado to Houston, Texas, in 2004 to be closer to family. They moved into Parkway Place due to Clayton’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s, which was beginning to progress. He died in 2008.

“I am so truly grateful for the staff at Parkway Place,” Isla said. “Words seem inadequate to express just how kind, loving, professional and dedicated every staff member is with Grandma and with me. Thank you to everyone who has a hand in caring for my precious grandma.”

Inspiring happiness every day of the year

Wilda is one of three Parkway Place residents over 100 years old, with two more residents turning 100 later this year. 

“Our team at Parkway Place has always looked for ways to create memorable experiences for residents, but I’ve been truly impressed with how our associates have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to connect with residents and inspire happiness,” Mathew said.

Learn more about how Buckner Retirement Services inspires happiness every day. 

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